Saturday, February 4, 2012

Interview with Stigmatheist, man from Ego Depths

This time we were talking with Stigmatheist, an adherent of meditative depressing doom. His music made us add to the conversation a pinch of theatrics. We hope this pinch is not too large.

1. Considering the name of your project, it would be stupid to ask something like "Will you ever have a real band?" or "Is one-man-band your way of thought and action or a burden due to the lack of like-minded people?", wouldn't it, eh? Thus, the question is: how did you come to realize that your ideas needed to be expressed through music and old-school doom-death music, at that? When did you understand that only you alone could properly turn your thoughts into music, that no one else could be allowed into the depths of your ego, that there's no point and necessity to do that?
Ego Depths will not become a full-fledged band in a widespread meaning because of the reason you’ve mentioned while asking me this question. Right, but gathering some session musicians is not the thing I would avoid to think of. It is really possible in the future. Moreover, I was always interested in what could I achieve if ED would be the fully functioning band able to play live show. It will allow me to reach some features which were unreachable before. It also would give me some additional degrees of freedom and a chance for multidirectional progress. Unfortunately, I haven’t an opportunity to shed the light on it during my ED creative life and I feel uncomfortable because of this so far.
Everything had begun quite early. I won’t be afraid of making the pathos impression to you by saying that in the early days of my secondary school (1995), when I had started to listen something heavier than «Кино», «НаУ» and «Ария», I was already aware of what I want to reach and achieve. Along the years since then, the circle of my interest was widening and so it does nowadays. It gave me additional «positions» and pre-prepared motifs to use in creating my own music. Just during that time I didn’t have too much knowledge as well as I wasn’t skilled enough in any musical instrument to start the creation of music earlier. So I collected all ideas, gathered them to the special black box for a upcoming special black day, heh. And my first teachers were: 1) “Wildhoney”, 2) “As the Flower Withers”, 3) “Shades of God”, 4) “Forest of Equilibrium”, 5) “The Second Ring of Power”, 6) “Headstones”. Later on, deepening myself into various genres and types of music, I had begun playing in a few bands, but no one of them gave me something what I should have been seriously thinking of. Except the last one, where we tried to follow The Great Opeth, gave me everything I needed to start my own path. I discovered the courage of musical thought and expression, and what is the main thing – it had shown me HOW I should do that. So, in the year of 2007, we finally had disbanded and I started to embody my ideas, accumulated along all past years into the first demo called «Cemetery of the Unburied Worships». During the next year of 2008 I was playing in a few bands of different styles trying to receive as much experience as I could, and with every additional disputed chord taken there I became clear of the reason, why I shall do ED alone. Following the conception of the gist of ego, there is no point in sharing the creation process with somebody else. 

2. What caused the differences in the sound of your project? I mean, «Follow The Skua» was really different from the first two records, and the material on the latest split album does not sound like your first steps very much - and generally speaking it is reasonable. What made you change your course? Thestirring of your inner self? Or some external factors?

Yes, all variants at the same time are true. The material of «Equilibrium Sickness» for that moment was already slightly different than demo. I’m always looking for something new and every time trying to reach some altitudes unavailable for me before. In the moments of splits’ creation, I was sure that I am not ready for second full-length and now split is the best moving in the direction of myself perfection. «Follow the Skua» was the first experiment on which we (me, DL and Endless Winter) agreed almost simultaneously and nearly immediately. I enjoyed the stuff done by DL and this split was quite attractive to me.
«Dark Wormholes» is also standing apart from the bunch of my records. It was initiated by a simple talking on the internet with guys from Aura Hiemis and Sculptor about the split together… and after a few days we were thinking the same, the idea of one could be easily followed by the other one and so on. This really helps to maintain the ideas, thoughts. This really helps while creating the music (alone).
Of course, these are the shifts of my inner self. I change with time and so does the music I create. Going back to the past is boring and not possible at the same time. Every day I discover something musically new for me, something I didn’t know before and it does an impact on me, it changes my vision and understanding of the music from the one I had a moment ago… And as a result – there is a movement, which always takes its place.
Outer factors take their place too; they etch deep into our self-consciousness and cannot come utterly though us and our lives.

3. Is music creation for you a spontaneous process or a consisten realization of plans? Do you know how a song will sound like before it is recorded, do you create it with final result in mind? Or something red just pours out and you only have to place the goblet at the right time?

In the early years, I suppose the last one mentioned by you is true. I haven’t improved myself enough to work long and hard persevering myself for endless perfection and eternal shining. Those ones written first were just the one-time taken pictures of the moment, so if I would desire to make the same in the other period of my time, they would be different. There is a form, an outburst – I sit down and make the sketches. During the record session of course I do edit, rehears and adjust what I have failed to perform for the first time, but no other turns. I believe this way makes the material more essential and sincere, and that crimson liquid you’ve mentioned before presents one-piece form against the endless refinement and it’s shivering to plasma and pop-corn.
In the case with the last split, I have spent much more time with my tracks than ever before. Except the regular corrections and blotting during the process of recording, I have spent a lot of time on the design and completeness of my tracks. That is also a kind of moving forth and changes. Some other kinds of orienteers and ideas of how the thought can develop in the particular case; sometimes it is quite hard to keep in mind all the ideas and approaches to reach it at the same time: that probably means that I am moving ahead up to the total perfection. It is unavoidable to remember every step you’ve taken and come back into the one same feeling, which conforms to the same in the issue. And here comes the dilemma: sacrifice the raw sincerity or to produce a senseless but embossed product with a confusing taste.

4. What makes you publish your music? What is it for you: a mouthpiece for the world to know your opinion of it, or a valve to discharge steam accumulated because of all the shit that surrounds us? Well, this was a bit harsh, so anyway, do you think that the world sucks?

Oh no, my dear friend, the world is wonderful, fascinating and original. Did you mean the world where there is no interception with human behavioral and conscious intentions? I hope not.
But the people are definitely shit. And that «world» which they create on the basis of the mentioned above is nothing except the country-side’s catchpit with the plenty of worms and stinking of the putrefaction when it becomes hot. To my kind regret – I have no other world so far, so I should force myself to live in the environment I have as yet. Proceed in self-organization and self-adoption – that is what nobody will do for me. Somebody call it society.
The publication itself I use for myself upper mostly, to control myself and my progress. Is that a loudspeaker? Yeah, it is some kind of. Everybody wants to say something to the world and to be heard out. And of course everybody wants to be hearkened to. That is our nature and to possess these intentions is not a sin or pathos behavior.  The shit happens when the person stops controlling all of it. Everything is ruled by the dose.
And maybe, to be embittered to the whole world, I would prefer to mention the some kind of valve… by the means of which I unleash the accumulated fallow. I hope, my extensive explanation is not very confusing for you.

5. What can you say about the world in general? Every person sees it differently, though the world stays the same.

The world of mankind is full of shit and excrements which are not properly or completely not cleared. It suffocates in the crowd, and this crown is tied together with the same rope which forwards them to unknown somewhere and they follow.
The nature world is full of miracles, different miracles. It is attractive. It is a wonderful listener and interlocutor. It is full of colors and marvels. It is a bit distorted in our understanding, because our eyes and ears (olfaction etc.) provide us with not full and sometimes completely wrong information, but this is the only way we live for now.
The nature is wise and completely not merciless. She gives us all everything she can, but we only take in huge amounts without any acknowledges. The rest I cannot express with words.

6. You have two split albums. How did you choose other bands for the split, did you consider another options?

No, each case is unique in the choice of neighbors and is final in appearance. There was no any casting of the pearls before swine about the decision who is the best candidate and who is not. Idea appeared as it is, during the personal contact and when it did appear – the decision was final and undoubtful. There will be other splits and the situation for them is going to be the same. Split presents the work product of some kind of union, which cannot be considered as joint project yet, but it is already not a compilation of tracks.

7. The second full-length, "Bardo". What will it be, where is it rooted?

«Bardo» is going to be a new turn in the spiral of my prowling through the musical universe. I wouldn’t say that I will make some “back to the roots” turns, because obviously I have no roots for now to make a turn in their direction. It is a local point of view, but generally… so, maybe it will be the old good doom, just with a bit of interference and novelty, the modern interpretation and at the same time different from all I have been doing before. I have discovered a multitude of new and old things as they would be new. About some of them I did not guess or think of in the past. I’m drawing my inspiration; I have enough vigour for now. You hear it when the time will come.

8. You still work on the sound on your own? Or there's somebody to help now?

Yeah, I do all the manipulations with my music and I do it alone. It is very rare, if after the fresh recording session I will give the raw mix to some of my friend to listen just to have some side points of view, but that is all (of course if this move can be related to your question).
But once, the artwork for my debut full-length was done by my good friend Visionaire. He was my third eye for that time; he saw all the pictures I was drawing with the music and atmosphere. Regardless of the fact, that the red idea of the artwork was created by me, he gave me a huge portion of help, support and critics I was required at that time. This is a real and sole example of the help coming from somebody else.
In the case of the upcoming second full-length, I have some plans of using somebody’s helps’, including session musicians and vocalists. I would probably ask for the help of my good crazy friend from Cthulu Rise (Kyiv, Ukr) to advise me in some arranging parts. Finally, mixing and mastering will be different than ever before, so here the side help won’t be avoided as well. Let’s wait and we will see.

9. Traditional question from our bookhaters club representatives: what book would you like to tear?

Any you will give me – any I will tear up! I will do it completely without any thought about its goodness. By asking this question, you won’t give me the good book to tear, right?
If seriously, it probably will be «Биофизика сложных систем» Рубин А.Б.

10. Okay, the usual, then. What song are you proud of?

Until the last split, it was “Endless Day…” from a debut work. For now – it is “…Into the Empty Maw of Universe”. In these two tracks I have accomplished all my emotions and feelingы as precise as possible.

11. Have you ever heard a song and felt regret because it was not you who had written it?

I didn’t think about it. I cannot think about it in this way. Even if my hymn is “Languish for Bliss” of my beloved Unholy, I wouldn’t regret about the fact that I am not its author. I would do it differently for the original and maybe I would like it more, but I like the original version and have nothing to regret of.

12. What interests you in music at the moment, what bands and genres?

For example, now I have fallen for Meshuggah. I’m used to love the math in the music all the time before, with a non-standard approach to standard things. Sometimes I am fond of bands with non-standard approach to non-standard things as well. I like Opeth very much. It fills my almost every day’s playlist along with Unholy. A few more Finnish bands like Astral Sleep and Umbra Nihil are morbid and quite delicious. Nightly Gale is a huge surprise to me. I admire from the first listening Monarch!, Trees, Nadya and Sol.
Sometimes I prefer etching electronics, but not very frequently.
70’s and 80’s avant-garde is the mostly complete and rigorous music for all time. For me it is a bottomless barrel of pure caustic and barbed inspiration.
Additionally, I adore classics, recently the most listened are Chopin and Debussy.
I am the forever slave of Esoteric, Essenz, Mournful Congregation and Ataraxie. I liked the last Consummatum Est, Fatum Elisium is great, Abstract Spirit and Comatose Vigil, Who Dies In Siberian Slush are very striking and exciting, original and distinctive Russian doom as it needs to be.
I love black. And there is a lot of good black came out during the last year, even regardless of the new-fashion incorporations make him suffocate. Peste Noire’s last album (2011) is just something head-cutting and banging, making a joy fountain of blood.

13. Weren't you tempted to play Cascadian black metal, you know, praising Canadian forests and so on?

Of course I did! Here the unique nature immediately breaks you to the soil as soon as you appear outside and make you feel your insignificance, so stunning and wonderful it is. Maybe someday I gonna bring some of my ideas into this. 

14. Many people say lately that music industry has been fucked and pirates have killed CD format. What's your opinion on that? In general, does underground scene give a shit about that, since there's such thing as social network?

The underground gives no damn on it. There are no sales in both cases. I still cannot understand why plenty of people fell upset thus far. CD was killed not by pirating, but by companies, which while producing music they have lost the moment of debut of mp3 and other digital stuff and now all listeners all over the world are guilty in it. Who wants and needs – those will go and buy a CD (as I do), if not – it is their personal decision and nobody have rights to change it.
But from the other side – for making a normal CD we need money for the layout and disc itself. After the person had spent some money for it, he will not go and give all his CDs he produced for free to everybody who wants them. And he cannot put all 427 copies on the bookshelf for future memories… The situation is quite apparent.

15. Is it right to make money by creating music or should an artist do something else for a living? Is it untrve to desecrate art with an itch for gain?

Yes, in my vision. To work hard and earning money for your life in our world – is the law and everybody should obey. And as soon as you obeyed, stood up straight on your l legs, you could straighten your shoulders and get the fuck out of your environment everybody you’ve been bound to before. When you soul began to breed the greed, but not the music – this is a deep crap, my friend. There is no ideal scheme of financial profiting art (we are not the art), always something suffers. The world full of shit cannot provide the strong ground of sand under your feet, but anyhow it is possible to earn money with creativity (lacking the freedom or lacking the money, you choose).

16. Have you ever played live at fests, gigs, kitchens? What will be your reaction if somebody suggests it, what would you feel? And if you indeed have played live, how does it feel to share your sufferings with other people when they are so close to you? It's one thing when you share your music on the web and you don't see people who curl their lips and delete your album from their drives after listening to one song, and it's quite the other thing when you see those people hurrying towards the exit when you play live.

As I have replied before, I will grab the opportunity to do that with enthusiasm, but not without hard feeling about searching and gathering the musicians, but I will do that with a smile on my face for sure. I will be filled with passion and expanding from the inside, I will enter the stage from the back and simply burst out… However, I don’t clearly see even a rehearsal of such collective. Yes, and once I have sung on of my songs being at the kitchen after a strong hangout…

17. Your favorite quote?

Heh… I feel a problem in answering to this question. Personally, I don’t like to cite somebody unless it is very personal.

18. Anything you'd like to say to our Brotherhood in the end of this chat?

You have a good brotherhood! Thanks a lot for your support and your interest in what I’m doing. And thanks for such an interesting bunch of questions.
Good luck with your job!

The mycelium's mind expresses gratitude to FreneticJoker for translation and editing.

In Russian - here

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